I ran 100km on Saturday.
Oh my, it was TOUGH. I’ve run ultras before, but never quite this far, and those extra few miles really made the difference. Obviously I wasn’t fully prepared (is anyone ever?) but, looking back, I think I’d done a lot of good. I didn’t have a lot of miles in my training, but I’d hammered the Pilates and kettlebell sessions; I’d really researched and experimented with my hydration and nutrition and all was good there, and my kit was well-worn and well-loved. But I guess I just found my limit – after about 54 miles I was mentally so over it. Thank goodness there wasn’t far to go at that point (comparatively) and I was still in fairly good shape – at that point I was oblivious to the blood blisters forming on my toes – so I pushed through to the end and even managed to smile, coming over the finish.
It’s a first for me – I have hurt, cried and felt so, so negative during a race before, but this was somehow different. This went on too long. So I found my boundary. It’s quite an impressive boundary and I am very proud of it, but I feel a bit odd – I’m not indestructible, I do have a limit, and that’s new for me. I don’t think I’m sad about it, I just feel different now. I just know more about myself now.
Here are some pictures of me ignoring the pain.
I’ve been cultivating this new attitude: stop pressuring myself. When we enter events, we instantly start to feel the pressure – it’s official, you’re going to run or cycle or climb or whatever, on this date, for this distance and you’re going to be measured officially in some way too. And that’s all good in terms of rising to the challenge and improving your sport, but what about the pressure from peers and fellow contestants? And from yourself? Some people thrive on this, and I think I did once, too, but these days I’ve realised I need to re-shape my priorities and stop thinking about stats and stuff.
I’m training for the Race to the Stones ultra marathon at the moment and, rather than beating my best time, I’m just aiming to get there. To start. To enjoy it. Whatever happens after the gun… happens. I’ve done what I can to make my body strong and ready and that’s all I can do. I can’t control conditions, trips and falls, sniffles, hay fever, a bad night’s sleep, so why worry? All sounds very zen, right? It’s pretty hard but I am trying. Enjoying the ride is what I want to do, I don’t want to find myself dwelling what might go wrong. (Obviously, I am dwelling on what might go wrong, but I am trying not to and that’s a good first step.)
I’ll let you know how I get on. But then again, I might not. No pressure, right?